I'm sitting in on a course looking at new media genres this term, and this week, we're looking at the email. I think the course itself is fascinating, as it really puts into perspective how many new forms of communication technology has provided over the past century or two. A telephone conversation is different from a face-to-face conversation is different from a Skype conversation. The convention for replying to an email is not the convention for replying to a letter. A show produced for online broadcast is not the same as a TV show. A podcast is not a radio show. And so on and so forth. And the studying these forms lead to new social understandings and opportunities. After all, this blog wouldn't exist if I hadn't signed up for a course a year back. For the class on email, we've been assigned the task of finding email how-to guides, and it's been illuminating to how much further the email genre can be broken down. There's guides for business emails, guides for friendly emails (and I love that society is in such a place that there are people who require a formula to write to a friend), and even guides for blind date emails.
But what about the other, neglected email genres? I envision a world where we will one day provide guides for the lesser known categories:
stalker-mail: Because on the Internet, you're always 300 feet away.
drunken email: All the fun of the drunken phone call, with the added bonus of delayed anxiety.
break-up email: "I think we should see other people. Let me know when you get this."
...okay, that's all I could think of. This is why I'm not writing a comedy blog. I'm not here to amuse you, dammit.